Fun Activities for Kids in Santa Fe

Santa Fe with children can be relaxed and fun.  You will want to take your very young children to the more active and outdoor places, but older children will enjoy the chance to absorb much of the art and cultural opportunities on a higher level. 

The most meaningful encounters are the authentic ones. Take your kids to meet the Native American artists at the Governors Palace. They love children who are well-behaved and do not touch their work. The Burrito Company just around the corner is child-friendly and handy for snacks. Walk about and point out the adobe architecture and the Spanish buildings with wrought-iron balconies. The Basilica of St. Francis and the nearby huge adobe Cristo Rey church are impressive and easy to walk around.

The Children’s Museum, whose website alone is a riot, and EW56B has free Family Programs for kids ages 4-12, including sunprints and other science and crafts projects. There are also summer (June-August)Monday noon artist talks at the New Mexico Museum of Art – free with museum admission, which are kid-friendly. The Museum of Arts and Culture Arts Alive hands-on workshops for kids are featured through the summer. Check the schedule online.

Canyon Road is the art gallery walk, with many opportunities for children to absorb a sophisticated exposure to fine arts. Even if your kids are not of an age to go into crowded galleries, the walk along the winding road, with many kinetic sculptures, outdoor installations and delightful little fountains and koi ponds in gallery gardens can meet the need for adults to window-shop and children to walk and be impressed. There are many places with outdoor benches, so one suggestion is to take two adults and trade off time inside the galleries with one staying among the children enjoying the outdoor displays.

The Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to walk, observe, and learn about native plants. Then, go to the Santa Fe River Park, right in the middle of this 400-yr old city, and walk along the paths to test what you remember. Take the kids out hiking to any of the many parks and recreation areas, and be sure to pack a picnic and watch a few of the spectacular western sunsets.

A wonderful, small-scale and delightful museum is the Poeh Center, out on Cities of Gold Road, along with the Tower Gallery featuring art and culture, with sculptures by Roxanne Swentzell.  Children love her storytellers and small people, and the panoramic display of Tewa history is just right for a young scholar. There is a community of native artists in the workshops or studio spaces, often there to talk about their work, and a great little restaurant, with authentic foods.

Always check the events schedules with the local visitors website and look for festivals, fairs and Native holidays for first-person experiences that your children will never forget.